Retinal Detachment- Symptoms Causes and Cures

I thought it’s just a migraine aura, when I suddenly started to see flashes of light (that felt more like lightening) last week. The flashes popped up on the left side of my eyes and soon disappeared. Each flash was quick and before I could know what’s actually happening, the aura was vanished. I have had the same feeling in the past (for acute migraine of course), this time, symptoms looked a bit different, mostly because the aura continued to last far beyond 20 minutes or so. Having no other options, I scheduled an appointment with my optometrist. Little did I know that the symptoms are triggered by Retinal Detachment, a serious eye hemorrhage. Apparently it’s painless, but, in the advanced stage, retinal detachment pain can be excruciating (if not treated in time).

Symptoms of Retinal Detachment

Just because it’s painless in the initial phase, retinal detachment is often difficult to diagnose. However, there’s some warning signs, which always appeared before it reaches the progressive stage.

  • Blurred or shadowed vision
  • Flashes of light in one or both eyes (if both the eyes are affected)
  • Reduced peripheral vision
  • Sudden appearance of floaters or light bubbles
  • Tunnel like vision

The symptoms, however, are quite similar to that of a migraine aura but, an optometrist can effectively perform a differential diagnosis.

When to See a Doctor

It’s a medical emergency and negligence towards it might end up with complete loss of vision. Seek immediate medical emergency, if you are

  • Older than 50 and experiencing the symptoms
  • Extremely nearsighted and suddenly having a blurred or shadowy vision
  • Facing vision problems and the history of retinal detachment is genetic

Causes of Retinal Detachment

While age is an important factor for the incidence of any ocular disease, including retinal detachment, there’s some other contributing factors behind this. In fact, doctors often consider the following as the risk factors for retinal detachment.

  • A drooping vitreous (VIT-ree-us), the gel filling up the inner part of our eye
  • Injury or trauma that probably has affected your eyes
  • Advanced diabetes

Leakage of the Vitreous Gel

In some cases, the vitreous gel leaks out through a retinal hole and gets accumulated underneath the retina. It causes a debilitating ache inside the eye, often called a retinal detachment pain. As the fluid or gel accumulates beneath the retina, and soon it starts applying pressure in the associated tissues and blood vessels (known as choroid). This part gets inactive due to excessive pressure and limited blood circulation and you lose your vision.

Age Related Retinal Tears

With the growing age, the vitreous gel of the retina continues to lose its consistency and shrinks. The vitreous gel, as it turns into a liquid form applies pressure on the retinal wall to create tears and pass through it. Left untreated, this apparently painless syndrome can make you lose your vision.

Treatment of Retinal Detachment

Retinal detachment is a medical emergency, which requires a surgical cure. The goal of retinal surgery is to reattach the retina and to prevent vision loss.

Usually, scleral buckle surgery, pneumatic retinopexy, or vitrectomy are performed to correct the retinal tears. However, it’s important to perform the surgery as soon as the disease is diagnosed, because the longer you wait, higher will be the chance of vision loss. Post operation, a patient will need antibiotic eye drops and corticosteroid medicines for quick recovery.

Keep in mind, that this disease is apparently painless. By the time, you start feeling the retinal detachment pain, the disease has probably reached its advanced stage. So, keep an eye on the warning signs and visit your doctor at the earliest, if you face any of these symptoms.